VMworld: EMC Automates Vblock Management, Supports VMware View

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At the VMworld conference in San Francisco today, EMC announced a beta program for EMC Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager (UIM) 2.0, which promises unified management of the networking, computing and storage layers of the Vblock cloud platform.

EMC (NYSE:EMC) also unveiled a set of reference architectures and best practices for using new EMC storage technologies to reduce the per client cost of virtual desktops in VMware View 4.5 environments.

The main aim of Ionix UIM 2.0 is to streamline the transition from physical to virtual to cloud infrastructures by automating the management of Vblock infrastructure packages. The Vblock systems – developed by EMC, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), and VMware (NYSE: VMW) under the banner of the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) coalition – combine Cisco’s Unified Computing Systems (UCS) and switches, EMC storage and security technologies with VMware’s vSphere operating system.

Ionix UIM 2.0 automates more than 60 operations that would normally be performed manually through various element managers. Chad Sakac, vice president of the VMware Technical Alliance at EMC, said UIM 2.0 serves as a single point of management for full provisioning automation across network, compute and storage environments.

Sakac said UIM 2.0 is the physical infrastructure peer to VMware’s new vCloud Director.

“VMware vCloud Director is essentially a portal that sits on top of all of the vSphere resources and turns them into multi-tenant, subdivided virtual data centers. Unified Infrastructure Manager 2.0 sits on top of a Vblock infrastructure and creates a [scenario] where you don’t provision hardware, you provision service levels,” said Sakac.

Sakac said the combination of vBlock, UIM 2.0 and vCloud Director equates to a “cloud in a box.”

The previous version of UIM was able to provision network and compute resources for Vblock, but lacked storage provisioning capabilities.

Virtual Desktops

In addition to the UIM 2.0 beta launch, EMC highlighted its support for VMware’s newly announced virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform, VMware View 4.5. VMware claims that View 4.5 lowers the per user cost of virtual desktops to about $300.

EMC began priming the pump for the View launch with last week’s launch of Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) Cache, Unisphere and support for VMware’s vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) support.

According to EMC, the integration of EMC FAST Cache and EMC Virtual Storage Integrator for VMware vCenter with VMware View 4.5 reduces storage acquisition costs by 60 percent and requires 90 percent less physical space and power.

Translation: EMC can lower the storage cost per virtual desktop to as low as $38 per client.

For example, EMC can run 1000 desktops on four enterprise Flash drives versus 60 hard disk drives (HDD) and boot those same desktops in four minutes using FAST and FAST Cache.

EMC and VMware have produced a set of joint reference architectures and best practices to help customers hit the $38 mark.

Sakac said the combination of VMware View 4.5 and EMC storage can bring the overall cost of virtual desktops down to where it is at parity with traditional desktop deployments. So if it costs the same and not less, why head down the VDI path at all?

Sakac said it’s all about management. “[In a View environment,] you can recover desktops and manage security more effectively and it provides a better user experience.”

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Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor.

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